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chief justice says military land being used for commercial purposes must be returned to govt

CJP said why cinemas, petrol pumps, housing societies, shopping malls and marriage halls are being constructed on land that was allocated for defence use only.

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed said the military land which is being used for commercial purposes must be returned to the government.

He said that the law of Pakistan does not allow commercial use of land meant for defence purposes.

CJP stated this today while heading a three-judge Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan which resumed the hearing of the case pertaining to the military lands which were being used for commercial purposes.

During hearing the CJP once again grilled Defence Secretary retired Lt Gen Mian Mohammad Hilal Hussain over commercial projects being developed or run on military land.

“The law’s intention is not that defence land is used for any other purpose,” Justice Gulzar reiterated. “If the land is not being used for defence then it will go back to the government.”

“This is government’s land,” chief justice said, noting that cinemas, petrol pumps, housing societies, shopping malls and marriage halls were being constructed on land that was allocated for defence use only.

“General sahib, these are not defence purposes,” he told the defence secretary, asking the attorney general to explain how the defence ministry would “limit the land’s use to defence”.

The court said it would interpret the law concerning the land of cantonment boards in light of the Constitution, with Justice Amin remaking: “This is also very important for the institution’s own reputation.”

The CJP then turned to the attorney general, saying “They must be made to understand the law, who will do that?”

He said a retired major had given the land of Global Marquees, a wedding venue near Gora Qabristan, on lease to a private party, and asked whether he had the authority to do so.

“The army did not take any action against the retired major,” the CJP said, noting that millions of rupees were being earned through Global Marquees on a daily basis.

The CJP ordered authorities to demolish a wall built next to Kala Pul as well as the Grand Convention Hall “today”.

‘Unsatisfactory’ Report

The CJP expressed dissatisfaction over a report submitted by the defence secretary regarding the case, saying the report “claims the [illegally built] buildings have been demolished, but they are still there”.

The defence secretary responded that he would visit the sites in person and take pictures to compile a new report.

“This situation is a cause of embarrassment for the army and us both,” CJP Ahmed remarked, following which the attorney general offered to withdraw the report submitted today.

The court directed him to submit a detailed report within four weeks, identifying the purposes of each piece of cantonment land.

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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